Now, having decided that my passport was indeed lost, there was nothing left for me to do but report it to the police. However, it was soon obvious that finding an actual real life “bobby” in modern-day “Blighty” is no easy matter and there was me sauntering down Sheffield’s Eccleshall Rd, going around Waitroses, bypassing St.Mary’s Gate and on, and on, and on ….. and, some forty to fifty minutes later, arriving at the Railway Station. “Got to be a policeman here,” I thought, and there was, just one, but there was!
Of course, as was to be expected the good man didn’t really know what to do but that is another story and more relevant is for today’s tale of “Big Brother” Britain, is the little conversation we had. “Just come from Eccleshall Rd and didn’t see a policeman anywhere”, were, after the customary “hello”, of course, my first words to him. Now, at times, the British police can be very friendly, especially if they perceive you to be a normal law-abiding citizen, not smelly, clean, and preferably, but not exclusively so, white and articulate. Therefore, his friendly reply was, “No police anymore mate, the cuts, it is all cameras now.“ It is all cameras now in – the nanny state, my arse – “Big Brother” Britain.
Now just as finding a policeman in Sheffield that evening was to prove almost as difficult as it is to find the proverbial needle, so to is finding articles in the mainstream British press that give adequate cover to the fact that privacy is now at a premium in the mythical land of the free. Indeed, it was the article in the ‘New York Times’, ‘Britain’s protest Proposal to Widen Surveillance’, that has reminded me that not only is Britain he Western world’s most closely monitored society, but that the government there is planning “to give the intelligence and security services the ability to monitor the phone calls, e-mails, text messages and Internet use of every person in the country.” The arguments for the necessity of this extra surveillance can be easy to deduce. Therefore, they will not be delved into.
It suffices to go to the ‘Big Brother Watch’, website where we can read that “scaremongering about terrorists and paedophiles is not only a cheap and petty way of forcing policy through, but if we fail to learn the lessons of history public safety will be worse off”. The implications of what exactly is meant by being “worse off” are obvious and as camera happy “Big Brother” Britain now moves to take complete control of its cyber space, and with google and others waiting in the wings to supply the government with all the information it needs, ….. methinks, that it is time to buy that super-duper VPN that I was using in China.